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Vertonghen: I did not know who Alli was

Jan Vertonghen hailed the form of Tottenham team-mate Dele Alli following another excellent performance against Aston Villa, but admitted he had no idea who the midfielder was when he signed from MK Dons.

Alli, who signed for Spurs in February but remained on loan at MK Dons for the remainder of last term, has been a star for Tottenham this season and was on target as they saw off the Premier League's bottom club in a 3-1 victory at White Hart Lane on Monday.

The 19-year-old England international newcomer has drawn plaudits for a series of fine performances that belie his inexperience, and centre-back Vertonghen is among his admirers.

The Belgium defender confessed that Alli was an unknown quantity to him at the start of the season, but has been left impressed by his talent.

"To be honest, before he came here, I didn't really know him," Vertonghen told Sky Sports. 

"[I did not mean] nothing bad about that - I don't know anything about [the] lower leagues.

"You think I mean this in a bad way but this guy has impressed everyone since the first day we met.

"He was there for a short while at the end of the season, we met him but I never saw him play.

"I think he has a great future, hopefully he stays with us for a very long time, he is a great player, great guy."